Monday, July 25, 2016


Hello everyone!  Happy Summer!

We recently had the most fun vacation ever to Gulf Shores, Alabama with our children and grandchildren.  For two of our grandchildren, it was their first time to be at a sandy beach and see the ocean.  We got to be there to experience that momentous occasion with them!

This adventure was something I will always remember.  Enter the DecoArt "UNDER THE SEA" Challenge theme!  Perfect timing!

I created this lovely 9" x 12" canvas to display in our home with seashells from the beach and a photograph of my husband and I with our grandchildren.

To celebrate summer and possibly those summer vacations at the beach you may be taking, DecoArt is featuring an Under The Sea Challenge.  From July 11th through August 12th, the DecoArt Media Design Team will be sharing our interpretations of this theme.  Then you are invited to join us by entering our challenge with YOUR Under The Sea art project.

The winner will receive ...

YES!!!  That's a $100 DECOART GIFT CARD!!!!  How's THAT for a prize??

Okay, back to my project ...

This is something anyone can do and it's not difficult at all!  Create your own very personalized memories to display in your home using DecoArt's amazing Media Line products!  Want to know how to do it?  

Here's the list of products you will need for this specific project and all of the step by step instructions:

  • DecoArt Media White Gesso
  • DecoArt Media Matte Medium
  • DecoArt Media White Shimmer Mist
  • DecoArt Media Modeling Paste
  • DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titanium White
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cadmiun Orange Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Hansa Yellow Medium
  • DecoArt Metallic Pearl Acrylic Paint
  • 9" x 12" canvas
  • Paint brushes
  • Cardstock cut into rectangular shapes and also one fairly thin strip to use on the fence
  • Paper Towels and/or baby wipes to blot off excess paint or mediums
  • 1/4" Scor Tape (double sided tape)
  • Finnabair Mini Stones
  • Andy Skinner Whirlpool 6"x6" stencil
  • Tim Holtz Bubbles Stencil
  • Wooden Craft Sticks from craft store
  • Wire
  • Palette Knife
  • Small piece of chipboard underneath the photograph
  • Pop Dots
  • Hot Glue
  • Tim Holtz Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glossy Accents
  • 4" x 5" scrap paper (to represent photograph)
  • Various little sea shells
  • Various textural objects such as skeleton leaves, pearls, corkscrew wire or other items that would fit in well with a beach theme.
  • Mini Mister water bottle (for creating your own shimmer spray)
  • Perfect Pearls Pearl

Step by Step Instructions:

Begin by brushing DecoArt Media Gesso over the surface of the canvas, including the sides.  Let dry or gently heat set.

Cut various cartstock scrapes into regtangular shapes and glue them in place on top of the gesso'd canvas using DecoArt Media Matte Medium.  Simply brush the surface of the canvas and the backside of the scraps.  Lay in place and then brush another coat of the Matte Medium over the scraps.  This glues and seals them in place for future steps.  You can either gently heat set or let air dry.  I also added some Finnabair Mini Stones for added interest around the edges of the canvas.  Do this by brushing on a generous amount of Matte Medium and dropping the stones in place.  Let air dry.  Then gently brush over the stones with more Matte Medium in an attempt to set them in place.  You will still lose some of them in later steps of dry brushing.

I added another layer of a stenciled image over the surface of the scraps using a Heavy Clear Gloss Gel and let it dry but later discovered that it really wasn't necessary.  But if you want to add that, do it now.

Spray over the surface of the colorful cardstock with DecoArt's Media Shimmer Mister.  It is semi opaque thus allowing some of the patterns and color of the cardstock to show through.  But your objective is to have a pretty much white or white washed appearance to your canvas.  Let air dry or gently heat set.

Add more interest and texture to the canvas with Andy Skinner's Whirlpool stencil and DecoArt's Media Modeling Paste.  Lay the stencil randomly on the canvas and scrap the Modeling Paste over the stencil using a palette knife.  I thought this resembled ocean waves.  Let air dry or gently heat set.

Next I added a few more "bubbles' to the canvas surface using Tim Holtz' Bubbles stencil.  I did this in the same way as the Whirlpool stencil: randomly and using a palette knife.   Let air dry or gently heat set.

As the top was drying, I carefully added DecoArt Modeling Paste to the sides of the canvas using my finger.  Let air dry.

While the canvas was drying, I started working on a little "fence" that I wanted to add do my canvas to represent the weathered seaside fences you commonly see at beaches.  I used 12 wooden craft sticks measured to 2 3/4" in length to create the picket fence.

To make the fence look more weathered and realistic, I added a coat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff and then lightly added a topcoat of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Burnt Umber to add an aged look.

Then I began wiring the pickets together to create a fence.  I marked lines at the top and bottom of the fence to keep my wires in the right place on the individual pickets.

Here is the fence.  I cut a 4" x 5" piece of cardstock to represent the approximate size of my family photograph that I would be adding.  This gave me an idea of how my fence would look in relationship to the photo.

Here is the way the canvas looks at this point with the area for my photograph and the fence's placement.

To make the fence even more "sandy" and believable, I created my own sand using DecoArt's Media Texture Sand Paste and mixing it with a little DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Titan Buff paint.  I mixed them together using a palette knife.  I then added a fairly narrow strip of torn scrap cardstock across the bottom of my fence with double sided tape.  Then I covered the paper with the sand mixture.  I then added a few shells and little sand dollars to the sand using Glossy Accents just to be sure they held in place.  Let it air dry.

And here is the sea fence that I will later even add a bit more Titan Buff over the surface of the fence to soften the brown tones and make it more "shabby" in appearance.

Now it is time to create my design on the canvas, leaving a space for my photograph.  I created an asymmetrical design for this.  I glued everything in place using DecoArt Media Matte Medium and a brush or my fingers.  Add a generous amount of Matte Medium to the areas of the canvas where you want to lay shells, pearls, metal corkscrews, rings ... whatever you choose.  The colors of the objects don't matter as they will all be covered with DecoArt Media White Gesso.  Just layout your design and gently brush over each item with the Matte Medium as well to seal it to the canvas.  Let completely air dry; sometimes overnight.

Gently brush over all of the raised objects and even on some of the canvas with DecoArt Media White Gesso.  In this photograph, you can still see some of the details from the original cardstock that was the first layer of the canvas.  I even brushed a little Gesso over the skeleton leaves at the opposite corners of where my photograph will be placed later.  The gesso bottle is laying in the area where the photograph will be.

Create your own colorful spray mist using a Mini Mister bottle, water, a little DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cobalt Teal Hue, Titanium White and a pinch of Perfect Pearls Peal powder.  Skake it well inside of the Mini Mister and begin spraying the soft blue ocean color onto your canvas, leaving areas of white open around the outer sides of the canvas.  Let the blue color radiate out from under the photograph.

Here is the canvas after is has been sprayed with your homemade shimmer spray using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics.  Be sure to rinse out the mister bottle when finished.

Now to begin the detail work on your canvas by dry brushing over the raised objects to bring out their patterns, colors and interest.  I chose to use softer "beachy" colors that coordianted with colors in my photograph.  So I created my own shades of soft yellows, peach and blue using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics Cadmium Orange Hue, Hansa Yellow, Cobalt Teal Hue, a touch of Titanium White and DecoArt's wonderful Metallic Pearl paint.  This paint can make your acrylic paints have a bit of a subtle shimmer to them!  Love it!

 Bring out all of the detail of the shells, starfish, pearls and so forth by DRY BRUSHING the various DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics colors over the objects.

Keep adding more dry brushed layers of paints as you continue to cover everything.  Blend colors as well for beautiful shading and depth.  I also took a small make up sponge and added just Titanium White over some of the Andy Skinner Whirlpool stencils to capture a bit more of the ocean waves feeling to this canvas.

Here is a closeup of a small section of the canvas so you can see all of the texture and depth you can create with dry brushing and just adding subtle bits of color to edges and so forth.  

And finally, I used Scor Tape to adhere my photograph on top of a piece of chipboard.  I matched up the colors from the photograph to the sides of the chipboard so that the photo seems to continue off of the edges.  Next I added stacks of Pop Dots on the back of the photograph so that it sat level and comfortable in place.  Finally I added small pop dots at the very bottom of my photograph, stuck the seaside fence in place and hot glued it onto the canvas at the sides.

I hope that this tutorial has given you some ideas of ways to display your family photos and possibly you've picked up a trick or two along the way.

Please join us for DecoArt's Under The Sea Challenge.  We'd love to see your art and have YOU inspire us with how you use your DecoArt products!

Happy Crafting!  


  1. Beyond fabulous, Candy! I just love what you did here. Brilliant work on the background. Love all the textures you have created and the family pic is adorable.

    Hugs, Gaby

  2. I'm amazed by the details, movement, layers, colors, textures and beauty of this LO Candy. I'm probably as much in awe of it as your grandkids were at seeing their first glimpse of the ocean. What a wonderful piece to capture this amazing vacation with them. Pinned! -- Mary Elizabeth

  3. My goodness, Candy, this canvas is amazing! Love the textures, the layers, the theme. It's FABULOUS! Always love your process.

  4. WOW! This is an amazing page; layout; mixed media piece! Crazy about the end result and the sharing of the process! Thank you so much for taking all the time to craft and share with step-by-step and pictures!

    1. Thank you so much Christine!!! I didn't know how to send you a personal comment back on Google, so I hope you see this! <3

  5. Such a great canvas Candy ! That fence looks awesome!

  6. PRICELESS - a FOREVER family HEIRLOOM. Absolutely FABULOUS. Our four grandkids just left - won't see them for another year - so I truly understand how PRECIOUS this canvas is. AND it's completely STUNNING, BRIGHT, HAPPY and just PERFECT. LOVE IT. Thanks bunches for a fabulous step by step too. XXj.

  7. Oh how I love this canvas . Love the various shells and the fence . This is a masterpiece and I'm so happy you shared a tutorial on how you created it . I have lots of sea shells and beach glass from our beaches so may just use them on a canvas .

  8. This is just totally stunning Candy, I am a complete beach/sea/ocean 'nut' and this canvas just captures elements of all three - the subtle background, the gorgeous dry brushed shells, the exquisite star fish - and then the wonderful family photo and amazing fence. How lovely to get to experience your grandkids first visit the beach and ocean too. A wonderful canvas Candy and beautiful memories to treasure for sure! Anne xx

  9. Candy!! Beyond stunning!! I just love love love everything about this canvas/layout- truly beautiful my friend!! And the photo of you all is perfect beautiful as well!! xoxo
    Thx so much for sharing your steps!

  10. Love so much the sea themed project! This is fabulous, love every little detail, fantastic work on the background and I love all the textures you've added! Fabulous! barbara

  11. Candy!!! You certainly made and explosive By the Sea Canvas!!! It is just breathtaking and beautiful!!!

  12. Super piece and a great tutorial. Love it, Angela x

  13. wow. this looks so great ! thanks for showing the way you used ... love it.

  14. I love anything sea related so this caught my eye. The sea shells and the glittery colours look wonderful.


I am so happy that you stopped by my blog! I truly appreciate your time and thank you for leaving a comment! Have a wonderfully blessed day!